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Gripen plane catches fire on runway

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Gripen plane catches fire on runway
15:18 CEST+02:00
A JAS Gripen fighter plane caught fire after an emergency landing at Kallinge airport in southeastern Sweden at 2.30pm on Thursday. The pilot escaped unharmed and was able to make his own way out of the burning plane.

"It's reasonable to assume that he's shaken," chief of staff Nils-Göran Bernebring told news agency TT.

The fire took hold in the plane's landing gear when the vehicle had touched ground and was still in motion.

The landing runway has been sealed until further notice. It is not yet known why the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing.

Local wing commander Mats Helgesson described the pilot as very experienced.

"He was out on a flight exercise and was on his way back to Kallinge," he said.

Helgesson added that there was no information as yet regarding whether or not the pilot had alerted staff on the ground to any difficulties.

Thursday's crash was the sixth such incident involving the Saab-made planes since their launch in 1993.

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